Ndamukong Suh got the memo: Voluntary spring workouts are by definition not compulsory, but in Miami, they’re important.
After skipping them habitually while in Detroit, Suh was among the dozens of players to report for the first formal lift of the year Monday -- and the Dolphins made sure the outside world knew about it. They tweeted out a picture of Suh in the gym, working his abs.
There were no pictures of Dion Jordan, meanwhile. That’s because Jordan wasn’t there, according to a league source. It was not immediately clear why Jordan elected to miss the first workout of the year.
Jordan has yet to justify the Dolphins drafting him third overall in 2013, either on the field or off. Jordan, who has just three sacks in two NFL seasons, is one more failed drug test away from a lengthy suspension; he was forced to sit out the first six games of the 2014 after twice failing tests. Plus there’s the added mystery of where exactly Jordan will play in 2015; the Dolphins have toyed with moving him to linebacker, but Joe Philbin indicated at the owners’ meetings that the team still sees him as a defensive end.
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Like Suh, the Dolphins’ other big offseason acquisitions ‒ tight end Jordan Cameron and wide receiver Kenny Stills ‒ were also in the building Monday. Ryan Tannehill, Mike Pouncey, Branden Albert, Cam Wake, Olivier Vernon, Reshad Jones and Brent Grimes were among the others to participate.
Yet the biggest storyline of the day, by far, was Suh‘s decision to show up. It’s a big deal when players do not, particularly highly paid ones. Mike Wallace missed the first day of last year’s voluntary program to deal with a personal issue, and it was a story (Wallace was back for Day 2).
Suh’s absence from these workouts in Detroit was more of the rule, and not the exception. Some questioned his leadership last year after he skipped the first voluntary mini-camp of new coach Jim Caldwell’s tenure with the Lions.
On Monday, there were no such headlines. Suh was present and accounted for -- even though he spent much of the morning on his own, following his own conditioning routine, a source tells the Miami Herald.
It’ll be much of the same for the next two weeks, as the league limits teams to strength and conditioning activities and physical rehabilitation only for the first phase of the offseason program.
Phase 2, which begins May 4, allows for individual on-field player instruction and drills as well as a light team practice with no live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills.
The final four weeks of the program includes 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs.” Again, no live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.